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Royal Drawing School Year Show - 2018/2019 review

 The Royal Drawing School show opened recently, and I’ve been going to the show for the last 3 years ever since Printmaker Samuel Heath, currently finishing an MA in Printmaking took me. I wasn’t aware it existed, and I think it is so important something like it exists because it means creatives and artists can solely focus on expanding that part of their practice and visual code. The intensity of it as a course is perhaps daunting but exciting to see in the final show at the end of the year. I have followed the work of some of these creatives before they embarked with the Drawing Year, so it was really exciting to see how their work had developed.  

This year’s cohort is one I’ve followed the practice of online as well as seeing in the flesh and its always exciting to see that distance from digital to physical space. When you see a tiny piece of work in a box on the likes of Instagram it can alter the experience. As someone who has graduated from a BA Drawing degree I was engaged to see how different creatives use line, mark making, tone and application to surface within their work.

The work of Mary Herbert is one I discovered on Instagram and it is her application to surface with colour that I find so evocative. She is able to create dramatic scenes that evoke drama and calmness upon the page. The scale of her work is intimate, and it works because of how she confidently utilises the drawing materials and letting them lead within her drawing process. She combines fluid and sensitive marks that organically dance around the surface and onto the paper. Her ink studies of trees and landscapes hint at a poignancy in the landscape and it’s the spaces in between each fragment of a branch where the light comes through that drew me in. I am always interested in how artists engage with their natural surroundings and capture the chaos of it in the simplicity of a silhouettes and a mark. 

Lake Swimming

Mary Herbert
Pastel on paper | 33 x 28 cm

Next is the work of Willa Hilditch who Kayleigh (another artist I saw the show with) first spotted because of Willa’s ability to create textures that at first glance could have been something else entirely. We were both drawn to this idea of illusion the artist creates in her work. Her mark making has a real monotype quality to it that I thought was ingenious because of how the sense of large, unassuming motion was depicted but it was actually made of up considered concise marks. Her work encourages the viewer to second guess what they are looking at. The intention to trick them and make them appreciate each layer and line, mark and gesture. The confident naïve approach to some of the artists studies really moved me because I love work that is immediate and intimate.

Card players in Pignano

Willa Hilditch
Pencil on paper | 29.5 x 34.5 cm

 Finally we have the work of Charlotte Ager who I first came across in her degree show in 2017. There is a motif within Charlotte's work that comes across in the majority of her work, a deep emotion where she is able to articulate hidden moments and elevate the mundane intricacies of the everyday. There is a huge drive with how she documents the world around her and this comes across in the sheer quality of her visual code and line. Her narratives dance from page to page and she has a way of making line pure so that each component stands in isolation but works in harmony with the other. She is humble and genuine in her approach to drawing and I'm excited to see where her work goes this year. Her work is organic and refreshing. 

Sun Suspended Between 2 Lakes

Charlotte Ager
Ink, watercolour, pastel and gouache on paper | 37 x 28 cm

The 2018 Drawing Year show finishes on the 19th and you can catch it on its last day tomorrow in Shoreditch, Charlotte Road, London. 

**All images on this blog post belong to the artists mentioned**


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